HISD to reopen schools that were briefly closed because of reported coronavirus cases

HOUSTON – Houston Independent School District announced Wednesday that all schools are reopening and resuming face-to-face instruction on Thursday, following the temporary closure on Tuesday. The shutdown was due to confirmed positive or presumed positive COVID-19 cases.

The district said the affected schools have been deep cleaned and disinfected.

“Now that we have returned to face-to-face instruction, I wanted to provide you with an update about closure and cleaning procedures that are being implemented when we receive a report of a positive or presumptive positive case of COVID-19 on one of our campuses,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan in a letter to parents.

She continued: “As we reviewed our processes in real-time on Monday and Tuesday, we have made some necessary adjustments that are in alignment with our latest guidance from the Houston Health Department.”

Here is an outline of the processes that campuses will follow:

One Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Case

  • The campus will remain open and undergo cleaning and disinfection overnight.
  • If a notice of the confirmed positive case is received after 5 a.m. when adequate advanced notice cannot be provided to parents, a campus will shelter in place for the day.
  • Learning will continue as normal, with school dismissing and buses running as scheduled. However, students and staff will be required to remain in their assigned classrooms throughout the day and for lunch to limit movement and minimize contacts.
  • Any infected or exposed students or staff must be notified, isolated and, if possible, sent home.
  • At the end of the day, the shelter in place will be lifted and cleaning and disinfection will occur overnight.

Two or More Confirmed Positive Cases

  • If two or more confirmed positive cases are reported on campus, the campus will close and shift to virtual learning to adequately identify contacts of positive cases.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of the campus will occur within 24-48 hours.
  • All students on the campus will shift to virtual learning until the campus is cleared to reopen.
  • Once the campus is cleared to reopen, principals will notify parents when in-person instruction will resume.

Presumed Positive COVID-19 Cases

  • The campus will remain open but undergo deep cleaning and disinfection overnight as a precautionary measure.

In all three scenarios, parents will be notified by the school’s principal, according to HISD. While HISD’s Health and Medical Services will continue to notify any student or staff member, who is believed to have been exposed to COVID-19.

“Please know that safety is at the forefront of everything we do and every decision we make,” Lathan said. “As we continue to navigate this pandemic together, we remain focused on two key priorities — providing our students with a high-quality education and ensuring the safety of both our students and staff.”

Parents with questions are asked to call the school’s office.

“He’s not learning out of school, so it’s actually hurting him being home,” said parent Nubia Najera. “It’s hard, but he has to come back to school and as long as he takes his precautions and everybody takes their precautions, I think we’ll be ok.”

“I’m kinda nervous about it,” said parent Jessica Sanchez. “The kids need to definitely go back to school, education is very important for them.”

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